Preserved Blackpool Coronation car 304 will soon be leaving its current, temporary home at Beamish Museum and heading back for the Fylde Coast. Before it goes however, the tram will be making a few final outings to give its fans one last chance to enjoy this wonderful tram operating in the North East.
304 was at one time only expected to run over three weekends, but this has now been extended to five – and the car has also been extensively used on weekdays! Sadly, Saturday 24th & Sunday 25th November will be its final weekend of museum service, although it is also scheduled to operate on Tuesday 27th November. 304 will return to Blackpool soon afterwards, although where it will go has not yet been confirmed by its owners, the Lancastrian Transport Trust. Hopefully arrangements have been made for this valuable tram to go into undercover storage so that it will not have to rejoin several other LTT vehicles in open storage, as the winter weather draws in.
304‘s stay at Beamish has not passed entirely without incident as it sustained some minor accident damage at one end, which is expected to be repaired before it departs. The efforts made by staff and volunteers at the museum to ensure that the tram ran on all advertised weekends deserves much acclaim, despite a few hurdles. For example, on one of its planned running days the car split the points on exiting the depot fan, but the track gang were soon on the scene to carry out a hasty repair job which enabled the Coronation car to enter service later the same day. A rostered guard also failed to turn up for one of its first days in service, but a replacement crew member was found at very short notice so that anyone travelling specifically to see and ride on car 304 did not go away disapointed. All of this reflects extremely well on Beamish Museum’s attitude towards tram enthusiasts, and hopefully will ensure that those who enjoyed 304‘s visit will return for future events at this fantastic museum. With plans now underway for the most ambitious tram-orientated event ever seen at Beamish in April 2013, hopefully there will be many more memorable sights at this museum over the months and years to come.